Kirstie Marie Jones is one of the most well-known equine portrait photographers in the United States. Her work is stamped by her bright and airy style that produces a pastel color scheme with romantic sun-drenched aesthetics.
Growing up just south of Portland, Oregon, Kirstie was an avid rider from a young age. In the second grade she showed a few miniature horses. Gradually she progressed to showing in 4-H, where she ran barrels and showed classes like showmanship. That led to her middle school career of riding Hunter Jumpers. “By high school I showed a paint horse at pinto and American Paint Horse Associations shows in the all-around events,” says Jones.
For college, Kirstie attended Texas Christian University, where she was recruited to show for them and ride on the women’s equestrian team. “I knew I wanted to be in Texas where all of the biggest horse shows and horse trainers were.”
However, it wasn’t until her senior year of college at TCU when she started her photography path. “I bought myself a fancy camera for Christmas,” she recalls. “I had no intention of being a photographer, I just liked nice pictures and was always borrowing my roommate’s camera.” Shortly after the purchase of her camera, she chose horses as her models. “I started asking my friends to model for me with their horses. Everything grew from there.”
Today, it’s her full time job and she travels the nation capturing some of the most talked-about names in the nation with her camera. “My passion is telling the story of the love between a girl and her horse through photography,” she says. While every aspect of her job is fun, Kirstie puts the most emphasis on her friendships created in the industry, “People who started as strangers became clients, who have become really close friends of mine.”
Looking back on 2021, she reminisces on some of her favorite moments. “I got to photograph a horse on the beach for the very first time in the heart of San Francisco,” she recalls. She was also able to take a tour of the new World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida. She traveled for the first time to the Northeast part of the nation, photographing clients in Michigan, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. “I photographed my first cover for COWGIRL Magazine, too.”
The difference between her work and others is simple: Kirstie devotes her time and energy into her customers. She gets it right because she knows them and their horses personally. “I have a passion for telling the story of the relationship between the horse and rider. I pray over all of my clients and cherish the friendships this business has brought me.”
She currently is helping educate others in the photography business. “I have both on-demand video trainings and personal coaching options to help other business owners,” says Jones. She focuses on teaching her portrait style photography business entirely online. This is a great resource for aspiring photographers in the equine degree, and don’t hesitate to learn more.
“This is far from a one-woman show! I owe an enormous “thank you” and shout out to my husband, Jake Jones, who helps with every single aspect of this business, my assistant Alicia Porter, my family, and my virtual assistants who help me run this business!”